The proposed Indian Badminton League (IBL) has received 18 expressions of interest from corporates for its six franchises so far and the organisers are expecting 12-14 more initial bids over the next 15 days.
A total of eight cities are in the fray for the tournament to be held from June 24 to July 11, 2013 and the organisers will finally settle on six franchises that get the best bids.
The eight cities in the race are Delhi, Bombay, Lucknow, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Nagpur.
The USD one million league, the highest prize money badminton tournament in the world, will see the participation of as many as 50 foreign and Indian players including Chinese superstar Lin Dan and world No.1 Lee Chong Wei, who have been approached by the event organisers.
The auction of IBL players is scheduled for March and the league is approved by the Badminton World Federation and the Badminton Asia Confederation, a release from the organisers said.
So far, the Hyderabad franchise has attracted the maximum number of interest from corporates, followed by Bangalore and Mumbai.
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) has already written to most of the national associations for their NOCs, including the top-12 leading badminton nations like China, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, France, Germany and Denmark among others.
BAI President Akhilesh Das Gupta said, "Badminton is the fastest growing sport in India today and we hope IBL will take our sport to the next level."
Sporty Solutionz CEO Ashish Chadha said, "We are thrilled with the brilliant response from India Inc and I would like to thank each one of them for supporting badminton. We are confident that the IBL will usher in a successful business model for the sport and take it to greater heights."
IBL governing council member Pullela Gopichand said, "The IBL heralds a new era in Indian badminton. It will provide a great opportunity for our players to play along with the best players of the world and learn from them."